If you want to partition external hard drives or the internal hard drive of your Mac, for example to install a macOS beta, you can easily do this with the disk utility. There you can add, enlarge or delete partitions or APFS volumes. In this guide you will learn exactly what the difference between these variants is and how they are created in each case.
Attention: Before you set up a partition or an APFS volume on your internal hard drive, you should always create a backup to protect your data. Also back up the data that is stored on a partition or an APFS volume before you permanently delete it. Here's how to do a Time Machine backup on Mac.
Difference between partitions and APFS volumes
macOS offers two options for partitioning hard disks: the classic division into partitions or the creation of several APFS volumes.
The difference between the two versions lies in the compatibility and the speed:
The classic division into partitions is slower and more cumbersome. The "Mac OS journaled" file system is compatible with all Macs up to 1998 and the "FAT" file system is also compatible with Windows devices.
With macOS 10.13, Apple has the " Apple File System " ( APFS for short ) as an alternative that allows you to divide hard drives into volumes. These are then only compatible with Macs with macOS 10.13 or later, but faster and easier to use. The APFS has been optimized for use with SSDs, but also works with classic hard drives.
If the internal hard drive of a newer Mac is partitioned, APFS is ideal, as it is much easier to set up and use, and since in this case the compatibility with other Macs is less important.
Before you start dividing your hard drive, you need to decide on a system. You can then follow our instructions for the respective options..
To enlarge a partition created in classic Mac OS journaled or FAT format, you must first delete it and then recreate it .
If you want to work around this problem in the future, you can create an APFS volume instead of the new partition , which will automatically get larger and smaller as needed.
You can delete partitions using the same view as you create them:
Add APFS volumes
As an alternative to a classic partition, you can add an APFS volume on newer Macs..
Grow APFS volumes
The size of APFS volumes usually depends on the storage space required. This means that you do not have to allocate any additional storage space in the standard settings, as this is automatically taken over by the system.
However, if you added a quota size, the size of the APFS volume is limited. Then all you have to do is delete the volume and then reinstall it .
Delete APFS volumes